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The influence of Parthenius on the new poets.

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This thesis examines the influence of Parthenius' doctrine of erotika pathemata on the Neoteric epyllion. His influence on Cinna has been readily acknowledged, but except for a few incidental and tentative references, little has been made of his role in determining important features of Neoteric poetry; in fact, many Leading scholars in the field fail even to mention him. A survey of the evolution of the epyllion in the Hellenistic world shows a radical transformation of the Callimachean type by Euphorion and Parthenius", in the late Alexandrian era. It is clearly the late Alexandrian epyllion that became popular with the Neoterics, as the relevant works of Catullus and, what can be conjectured about the nature of the lost Neatenc epyllia suggest. There is a marked bias towards tragic love-stories, sensational and bizarre, often metamorphic and with ample scope for emotional analysis and a subjective treatment. These features closely parallel the tenor of Parthenius', summary of 36 love-stories in the Erotika Pathemata, his only wholly extant work. While the collection was dedicated to Comelius Gallus well after most of the Neoteric epyllia were written, it is safe to assume that Parthenius preached his doctrine from the time of his arrival at Rome, as his widely acknowledged influence on Cinna's Zmyrna, perhaps the first Latin epyllion, seems to suggest. This thesis cannot pretend to defend Ross' extravagant claim that "without Parthenius' timely arrival there could have been no New Poetry"; but it can attempt to illuminate Parthenius' central role in establishing the nature of the Neoteric epyllion. This study has been undertaken, then, in the belief that Parthenius' influence on the Neoterics and on the creation of a new genre at Rome warrants closer scrutiny than has so far been attempted. Thus, it seeks to provide an alternate basis for the analysis of poems like 63 and 64, and heralds a possible shift from the emphasis on the autobiographical approach, which, though undoubtedly valid, has been belaboured in recent years to the point of excess. Abbreviated title: Erocika Pathemata and the Neoteric Epyllion.


Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Durban-Westville, 1996.


Parthenius--Criticism and interpretation., Greek prose literature., Catullus, Gaius Valerius--Criticism and interpretation., Latin poetry--History and criticism., Poets, Latin., Theses--Social science.